August 2020 Central Connection

August 3, 2020

Entrepreneur ‘banks’ on marketing plan

By Joni Ransom
Chief of Staff

When it came to getting word out about his Central City business, Kegnide “Banks” Bankole found some help from Central Community College.

Kegnide “Banks” Bankole stands outside his Central
City-based business, Banks Wraps & Signs, along with
Central Community College business instructor Gene
Manhart. (Photo by Joni Ransom)

CCC was already a familiar place to Bankole since he had attended CCC-Grand Island and earned an associate of applied science degree in business administration in 2016. When he bumped into his former instructor, Gene Manhart, at the Central City Fitness Center, it seemed natural to talk about his own business, Banks Wraps & Signs.

Although the conversation initially focused on establishing student internships, it soon turned into a discussion about using Bankole’s business as a project for Manhart’s principles of marketing class.

Bankole agreed, and the process began with his appearance at the marketing class to explain his business and to answer the students’ questions they had prepared in advance.

The class then worked throughout the spring semester to produce and develop a marketing plan. By chance, one student already had experience with Banks Wraps and Signs, which had worked on her husband’s business vehicle, and was able to provide a lot of input on the marketing plan. 

“The students really wanted to help Banks and his business. I saw that from the start,” Manhart said. “It’s one thing for students to learn a marketing concept but applying what they learned to a genuine business and being able to interact with the actual owner is something else. They become engaged, involved and energized to the point they came up with ideas on their own and outside of class.”

The marketing students presented their findings on May 4 with Bankole joining their virtual classroom via Zoom.

“Working with the marketing class was a neat experience,” Bankole said. “Hearing the student’s ideas and perspectives gave me a lot to think about with my marketing strategies.”

Banks Wraps & Signs is the culmination of a journey that began in Benin, Africa, where Bankole was born and raised. After moving to the U.S, the first step for the French-speaking Bankole was to enroll in an English as a second language class, but he didn’t stop there. He went on to earn his CCC degree and then a bachelor’s degree in supply chain and management from Bellevue University.

“Richelle (his wife) inspired me to finish college,” Bankole said. “I wanted to feel the emotion she felt when she got her degree, and I did.”

Banks Wraps & Signs was born in Bankole’s basement when his father-in-law gave him a computer, allowing him to design T-shirts and small signs. The business now occupies a storefront along Highway 30 and has expanded to provide wraps for vehicles and other items to a growing customer base throughout Nebraska.

“I want to be the car wrap expert,” said Bankole, who is a certified 3M Preferred graphic installer whose principle offering is wrapping commercial vehicles to help build brand awareness. “There are so many things you can do with vinyl. You can change the color of a car and give it a whole new look. The future of the industry is bright.”

CCC takes COVID precautions for 2020-21

By Scott Miller
Senior Director of College Communications

Central Community College has announced plans for the 2020-21 academic year in consideration of the COVID-19 pandemic. The school ended the previous year by conducting all instruction remotely, except for labs and other courses that required a hands-on approach.

The fall semester is set to begin on Monday, Aug. 17, with a return to face-to-face instruction at all CCC campuses and centers. Adjustments have been made to classrooms and labs to allow for social distancing and some instructional delivery methods have been modified to allow for more online opportunities.

As a matter of safety for all students, faculty, staff and visitors, the college is implementing a face covering requirement in all CCC buildings, including classrooms, hallways and labs. Face coverings include masks, face shields or other approved coverings. Additionally, hand sanitizer and plexiglass shields are positioned throughout buildings.

CCC will continue to follow safety recommendations from the CDC and local health departments, such as washing hands, requiring those with symptoms to not attend class, reducing on-campus housing capacity, avoiding close contact of food service and overall enhanced cleaning and disinfecting. Floor signage indicating flow patterns and six-foot social distancing recommendations will be utilized as appropriate in CCC buildings. 

A recent student survey conducted by Central Community College indicated nearly 80 percent of students are preregistered for at least one face-to-face course. Most respondents said they look forward to attending CCC in person this fall and support the use of face coverings, if needed.

“Central has had a long and successful history of offering both remote and face-to-face courses,” said CCC President Dr. Matt Gotschall. “We feel confident in our ability to manage this more flexible format to maximize learning while providing the essential hands-on educational activities and life experiences necessary for future careers.” 

At this time, fall classes are scheduled to conclude on Friday, Dec. 11. If conditions warrant a change, college administration will communicate alternate plans at the appropriate time.

Athletes earn academic honors

The National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) has recognized a record 36 Central Community College student-athletes for academic achievement during 2019-20.

Student-athletes who earned a 4.0 GPA were named NJCAA All-Academic First team, while those who posted a GPA of 3.80-3.99 were named NJCAA All-Academic Second Team. The NJCAA All-Academic Third Team is comprised of student-athletes who finished with a GPA of 3.60-3.79.

The Raiders had four teams that earned NJCAA Academic Team of the Year honors for posting a combined 3.0 GPA or better. Volleyball posted a 3.55 GPA, while women’s basketball sported a 3.5 GPA. Softball posted a 3.42 GPA and women’s soccer posted a 3.19 GPA.

Honored student-athletes were:

  • Golf: Christian Jewell of Papillion and Joel Poland of Kearney, 1st team.
  • Men’s basketball: Jack Mohr of North Platte and Cooper Pratt of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 1st team, and Chase Ruzicka of North Bend, 2nd team.
  • Men’s soccer: Ethan Bonaparte of Port of Spain, Trinidad, 2nd team, and Guilherme Balestra Demhougi of Salvador, Bahia, Brazil, and Roberto Pedro of Schuyler, 3rd team.
  • Softball: Morgan Pinkelman of Ashland, Kassidy Soulliere of Columbus, Michaela Wegner of Pender and Ragan Wood of Greeley, 1st team; Grace Cargill of Cozad and Lilly Cast of Beaver Crossing, 2nd team; and McKinley Josoff of Yutan and Kaitlyn Kleinheksel, Larisa Rother and Macee Trotta, all of Columbus, 3rd team.
  • Volleyball: Devyn Erickson of Greeley, Mallory Gotschall of Columbus and Susan Vavra of Ord, 1st team; Abbe Mancuso of Papillion and Madison Walkowiak of Spalding, 2nd team; and Kamri Adler of Hastings, Katelynn Halstead of Marquette and Lydia Permenter of Ralston, 3rd team.
  • Women’s basketball: Sarah Monahan of Hyannis, 1st team; Allanah Beller of Lindsay and Bailey Keller of Columbus, 2nd team; and Gabrielle Baack of Kearney, Jayden Haag of Mead and Sydni Whitted of Silsbee, Texas, 3rd team.
  • Women’s soccer: Reagan Folda of Schuyler, 1st team; Courtney Aldrich and Bailey Keller, both of Columbus, and Kaylee Grieser of Kearney, 2nd team; and Macee Trotta of Columbus and Sanne Van Gorp of Almere, Flevoland, Netherlands, 3rd team.

Student named Leader of Promise

Francisco Ortega of Grand Island has been named a 2020 Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise Scholar. The award comes with a $1,000 scholarship for the Central Community College-Grand Island student.

The Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise Scholarship Program helps new Phi Theta Kappa members defray educational expenses while enrolled in associate degree programs. The 207 scholars were selected based on their scholastic achievement, community service, and leadership potential. Nearly 700 applications were received.

The $207,000 awarded through the scholarship program is funded with $200,000 from the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation. The remaining amount is supported by donations to the Phi Theta Kappa Foundation.

The funds provided by the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation not only aid college completion, but also give students the opportunity to engage in PTK programs and develop leadership skills to become future leaders in their communities.

News briefs

Project Help grant to continue at CCC

Central Community College has been notified of a $2.3 million continuation of the Health Profession Opportunity Grant, which funds Project HELP (Health Education Laddering Program).

CCC will share the funds with its Project HELP partners at Mid-Plains, Northeast and Southeast community colleges. The award is part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act, and runs through September 2021.

Project HELP started at CCC in 2010 to assist low-income individuals overcome barriers to success during their education and lead them to high-demand, well-paying jobs in the health care industry. Participants receive supportive services such as intensive success coaching, scholarships, laptop checkout, scrubs, transportation assistance, resume and interview preparation and job placement assistance. Project HELP also works with community agencies and area employers to aid participants in overcoming barriers while they learn about the health care field.

Program receives innovation award

Central Community College’s “Building Mechatronics with Instrumentation and Controls (MwIC)” entry has received a 2019-20 Innovation of the Year Award from the League for Innovation in the Community College.

The award recognizes innovative activities at community colleges that improve their ability to serve students and the community.

CCC implemented the MwIC project to address a growing need for process instrumentation and control technicians. With the support of industry and vendor partners, the business and industry leadership team developed a new instrumentation and control pathway as part of CCC’s mechatronics associate of applied science degree, making it the first two-year instrumentation program in Nebraska.

Funded in part by a National Science Foundation grant, MwIC developed six new courses in instrumentation; created a new state-of-the-art, customized lab facility for hands-on learning at CCC-Columbus; engaged secondary schools throughout Nebraska increasing the awareness of mechatronics careers; and provided professional development for more than 100 secondary and college educators from 50 different institutions while helping establish multiple scholarship and internship opportunities. These efforts led to more than a 25 percent increase in mechatronics enrollment from the 2016-17 academic year to the 2018-19 academic year.

CCC’s innovators on the project were Dr. Nate Allen, dean of skilled and technical sciences; Sue Baer, training and development administrative assistant; Dan Davidchik, process controls and instrumentation instructor; Sharon Gutierrez, MWIC project coordinator; and Doug Pauley, associate dean of training and development.

Scholarship supports workforce retraining

Central Community College is partnering with the Department of Economic Development and Nebraska Department of Labor to provide the CCC Nebraska Workforce Retraining Initiative Scholarship.

As part of the initiative, individuals who have lost their jobs or are underemployed as a result of COVID-19 can apply for scholarships to help them receive training for high-wage, high-demand careers and industries. Both short-term credit and non-credit course offerings are available.

In tribute

Rodney D. “Rod” Hansen, 79, of Hastings died July 11 at Harvard House Assisted Living in Harvard.

Services were July 17 at Faith Lutheran Church in Hastings with burial at Parkview Cemetery in Hastings.

He was born Sept. 19, 1940, to Leona (Heggemeyer) and LeRoy Hansen in Battle Creek. He graduated from Battle Creek High School and earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

He married Kathryn A. Christensen on Feb. 28, 1965.

He began his career as a sports editor at the Grand Island Independent and worked for the Chamber of Commerce of Greater Kansas City and as public information director for the Nebraska Department of Economic Development before joining KN Energy Inc. (now Kinder-Morgan) staff in 1971. He worked in the public relations office in Scottsbluff and Hastings for 24 years before retiring from the company.

He later took a job as a copywriter for David and Associates. In 1997, he became assistant director of the Central Community College Foundation and also worked with CCC’s Nebraska Manufacturing Extension Partnership. He retired in 2006.

He was an active member of Faith Lutheran Church and the Hastings Elks Club and a regular volunteer at Start Over Rover animal shelter.

He was preceded in death by his parents and two sisters, Janice Fleugel and Avis Walrod.

Survivors include his wife; children, Steve Hansen of Lincoln, Shelly Haller of Ceresco and Scott Hansen of Hastings; brothers, Stan Hansen of Princeton, Minn., and Kenny Hansen of Peoria, Ariz; and his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Livingston Butler Volland Funeral Home and Cremation Center in Hastings was in charge of arrangements. Memorials may be given to Start Over Rover or Faith Lutheran Church’s Hope Fund.

Employee news

Administrative Office

Joseph Black has joined the staff as grants development coordinator.

College President Matt Gotschall has been appointed to the Commission on Small and Rural Colleges by the Board of Directors of the American Association of Community Colleges. The commission gives the AACC advice on trends and issues, highlights innovative practices in small and rural colleges that can serve as models for other institutions, and suggests ways to meet the needs of this sector.

Columbus Campus

Daniel Gettinger has joined the staff as associate dean of skilled and technical sciences.

Financial Aid Director Lisa Gdowski has earned the Certified Financial Aid Administrator designation from the Certified Financial Aid Administrator Commission, the independent certifying body of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA).

The certification indicates she possesses the foundational knowledge and skills to effectively administer Title IV federal student aid programs at colleges and universities across the country as a financial aid professional.

To earn this certification, she demonstrated industry-related experience, passed a comprehensive knowledge exam and affirmed commitment to ethical standards.

Barbara Wright has resigned as business pathway retention coach.

Grand Island Campus

New employees include Veronica Friesen, nursing instructor, and Caitlin Pettman, Academic Success Center coordinator.

Hastings Campus

Ashley McCarter has resigned as admissions recruiter. Her replacement is Valeria Denman. Also new to the staff is Meghan Horton, counselor and prevention education coordinator.

Kearney Center

Receptionist Katie Holmes has been selected to participate in Leadership Kearney Class 30. The two-year program includes 10 sessions focusing on various industry topics in Kearney and Nebraska. The 23 participants were selected by the Leadership Kearney Board of Directors through an application and recommendation process.

Jennifer Soderquist has joined the staff as a nursing instructor.